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New OSS Executive Director David Ferguson. Picture courtesy of ©Fotosport/David Gibson.

The Observatory for Sport in Scotland has appointed a new Executive Director to spearhead its drive to increase sport participation and improve health across the country.

David Ferguson, the former sports writer and broadcaster, took over from current director Marie McQuade on 1st January, 2019. OSS Chairman Charlie Raeburn commented: “We’re pleased with our progress in the past three years and the work led by Marie and supported by the board. Marie has been a fantastic director for us, playing a key role in guiding us forward, and we wish her well as she moves on to new challenges.

“As we look to the next chapter, we are delighted to have secured David Ferguson as our new Executive Director. We are confident that his background in sport, journalism and the charity and community sector, and his passion for sport, will help us to engage support and cohesion across Scotland, which is central to driving real change in sport participation.”

Ferguson commented: “I am honoured to be offered the role and look forward to building on the solid foundations laid by Marie. It is clear when you see Scotland at the bottom of European tables around physical activity and at the top for obesity and health problems, that we have a real challenge, but there is also real potential to effect change.

“I’ve worked with leisure trusts, sport bodies and the Scottish Government in recent years and witnessed terrific pockets of participation and met wonderful people bucking the trend, so the desire and innovation is there. I’ve also been encouraged by discussions with sports people from around the world, including OSS board members from Scandinavia and Holland, about how participation levels are rising elsewhere and how we can learn from them.

“This is about sport in its widest sense, with all the benefits of learning and enjoying improved physical and mental health, and social cohesion, and the undoubted ability to reduce pressure on the NHS now and in the future.

“The Observatory brings together sportspeople and academic researchers to produce quality, independent research that helps to bring confidence to the policy-making of government, governing bodies, trusts, councils, clubs, schools and others working hard to improve physical and mental health.”

Anyone interested in working with or supporting the Observatory can get in touch with David at: or Charlie: